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Dell XPS Laptop

Posted by in Laptops | Comments Off on Dell XPS Laptop
Dell XPS Laptop

The 3D revolution is upon us. It seems impossible to buy the latest LCD and Plasma displays these days free of such technology, so it was only a matter of time before a laptop computer featured a 3D display.

One of the first is from Dell, in the form of the Dell XPS 15 3D and XPS 17 3D, which have 15-inch and 17-inch displays respectively. Here we take a review of the 15-inch model.

For a high-end model, the casing is mostly plastic and very average looking, especially compared to Apple’s MacBook Pro and iPad products. Also, the keyboard is average at best, with not the most tactile feeling keys, whilst the arrow and page up/down keys are quite tightly grouped together. Hopefully the money has been spent on the components inside the notebook.

The XPS 15 3D comes with of one of the new-generation Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7-2820QM quad-core mobile processors running as standard at 2.30GHz or at 3.4GHz with the Turbo Boost mode enabled.

Graphics power comes courtesy of Nvidia with a GT 555M mobile GPU driving the 1080p capable display. The 15″ LED backlit LCD screen runs at the all-important 120Hz refresh rate which is crucial for making it stereoscopic 3D capable in conjunction with the integrated IR transmitter. Disappointingly there are no free Dell XPS 3D glasses included with the retail package, although aftermarket alternatives such as the Nvidia 3DVision glasses will work very well.

Most other aspects of the Dell XPS 3D are standard laptop fare, with a 7200RPM hard drive, 4GB RAM, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, 802.11n wireless capability, an integrated Blu-ray disc drive and HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs. It is good to see USB 3 ports included as standard, whilst the Blu-ray drive is arguably essential for a 3D movie and gaming machine. Despite this, it would be nice to see a free SSD drive upgrade in place of the old-fashioned mechanical drive. The amount of RAM is upgradeable to as much as 12GB.

Of course Windows 7 comes pre-loaded and in general use the performance is superb. Even with all of the eye-candy turned on, everything works really fast and is super slick. Load up some of the latest graphics-intensive games such as Far Cry 2 and F1 2010 and although very good for a laptop, is does struggle to produce decent FPS rates on full screen resolution. We found that lowering the settings a notch or two really helped to provide smooth playback.

Dell XPS 3D Gaming

Load up some 3DVision capable games and it unfortunately struggles even more, with a corresponding greater drop in resolution often required to achieve playable frame rates. Despite this, it was still very good for a laptop that doesn’t proclaim to be a dedicated gaming machine. If you want mobile gaming free from any hardware restrictions, then an Alienware laptop (also by Dell) is what you want. Beware, though, you will need plenty of more to pay for it though!

Dell XPS 15 3D Movies

On a brighter note, playing 3D Blu-ray movies is a very impressive and enjoyable experience. The only issue we found were having to sit directly in front of the sreeen, as both the 3D technology and the LCD screen technology meant significant shifts in both the 3D effect and the color tones when viewing off axis. The 15″ screen is obviously not the ideal sized screen for an immersive 3D experience, but we assume consumers would be buying this model for its mobile 3D viewing properties and backing it up with some more substantial screen real estate in the comfort of their home.

Dell XPS 3D Audio Quality

Laptop computers never seem to have the best speakers, but despite this the audio quality was pretty good, with little speaker distortion and decent volume levels. Bass levels do not reach thunderous lows, although you wouldn’t really expect this without a separate subwoofer enclosure.